Annual exams and tests after having type 1 diabetes for 3 to 5 years

The American Diabetes Association recommends that you have the following exams and tests every year after you have had type 1 diabetes for 3 to 5 years.1

Exams and tests done annually after having diabetes for 3 to 5 years

When to start

Name of tests

After having diabetes for 3 to 5 years

Visit an ophthalmologist for a dilated eye exam (ophthalmoscopy). If you are at low risk for vision problems, your doctor may consider follow-up exams every 2 to 3 years.

Have a foot exam to check for diabetic neuropathy. Your health professional will look at your feet for sores and calluses at every visit beginning at diagnosis. At least once a year, have a test using a 10 g monofilament to check for sensation in your feet. People with one or more foot problems may need to have their feet examined more than once a year.

After having diabetes for 5 years

See your health professional and have a microalbumin urine test, which evaluates your urine for the presence of a protein called albumin. Albumin is normally found in the blood. Albumin is filtered by the kidneys and then returned to the bloodstream. When the kidneys are working properly, albumin is not present in the urine. However, when the kidneys are damaged, small amounts of albumin leak into the urine. This condition is called microalbuminuria. Either of the following tests may be done.

  • Microalbuminuria dipstick test, to estimate the amount of protein in a urine sample
  • Spot urine test for microalbuminuria, to measure the exact amount of protein in a urine sample

Elevated microalbumin urine results indicate kidney damage. One of the following tests may be done to find out the amount of protein released in your urine and estimate how severe the kidney damage is.

  • 24-hour urine test for protein, in which all the urine you produce for 24 hours is collected and the amount of protein present is determined
  • 24-hour urine test for creatinine clearance, in which a blood test for creatinine is done along with the urine test to estimate how much kidney function remains. This test is called a creatinine and creatinine clearance test.

Every year you will also have a blood creatinine test. The blood creatinine test shows how well your kidneys are working. A high creatinine level may mean your kidneys are not working properly.

Citations

  1. American Diabetes Association (2008). Standards of medical care in diabetes. Clinical Practice Recommendations 2008. Diabetes Care, 31(Suppl 1): S3–S110.

Last Updated: October 3, 2008

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